Minister: Shatter no confidence motion a 'knee-jerk reaction'

A Cabinet Minister has said a Fianna Fáil motion of no confidence is a "knee-jerk reaction".

Brendan Howlin says the Dáil debate tonight and tomorrow night is an attempt to prolong the political panic surrounding the Garda tapes affair.

The Government is expected to comfortably win the vote, but will face further attacks over its handling of the Garda tapes and the resignation of Martin Callinan.

Mr Howlin says Fianna Fáil is just trying to score some easy points.

He said: "I think there's a normal political knee-jerk reaction to try and pro-long a controversy - that's just custom and practice.

"So I don't expect anything different form Fianna Fáil."

Political Editor with the Independent, Fionnan Sheahan, says even if the motion of no confidence is voted down, Minister Shatter still has questions to answer.

Mr Sheahan said: "If a letter was not passed on to the Minister for Justice, you can't just turn around and blame the civil servants - you have to say 'hold on a second here, who's in charge of the Department politically' and that is the Minister for Justice.

"So if a system is not adequate within a particular Department you have to look at the Minister."

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